How to Get a Release for Nude Photographs

By Contributor
Before publishing this image, I had the model sign a release

Marketing your work can be one of the most gratifying aspects of your photography experience, but it can also be labor intensive. In nude photography it is especially important you have the appropriate permission from your models in the form of a model release that states how the photographs may be published.

A release is an agreement between a model and a photographer. The release can protect the photographer from claims of libel, slander, defamation, or invasion of privacy. It can also help avoid basic misunderstandings and give a comfort level to the use of a model's photos, especially in the case of nudes.

Make sure you choose a model release that is appropriate for nude photography. See links at the bottom for samples.

As part of agreeing to a shoot, make sure the model understands your intended use for the photos.

Have the model release ready after the shoot. Some photographers have the release signed before shooting, but I'm told this can put the legality of the release into question because the content of the shoot has not yet occurred at the time of signing, and therefor the model cannot take it into consideration.

Before presenting the release to the model, ask the model if she's signed model releases in the past. If she has not, explain to her that a release is a permission form that allows you to use the images in the way you described when you arranged the shoot with her.

Present the release to the model.

Let the model know that she needs to fill in all blanks unless they are marked as optional.

If she has questions do what you can to address them. It should rare that the model is not comfortable signing the release because permission to use the photos is something that should be discussed before the shoot.

Ask the model for government issued photo identification for proof of identity and age; make a digital copy of the id with your camera.

Pay the model after she signs

Pay the model after she has signed the release. The payment is in exchange for her time and permission to use the photographs for the agreed purposes.

Tip

Some photographers ask for two forms of identification, and photograph the model holding the id next to her face.

Warning

Check with a legal expert regarding the laws of your particular location, especially as it pertains to nude photography.